OPALCO Passes $46,230 in BPA Rebates onto Friday Harbor Labs

OPALCO Energy Savings Specialist Elisa Howard presented University of Washington (UW) Friday Harbor Laboratories (FHL) Interim Director Billie Swalla and UW Dean of the College of the Environment and Prentice and Virginia Bloedel Professor Lisa J. Graumlich with a check for $46,230. The Friday Harbor Labs completed a substantial lighting efficiency upgrade project in late March. A group of UW students, faculty and community members gathered to celebrate completion of the work and the rebate award.

Check presentation at FH Labs

Professor Adam Summers, UW Friday Harbor Laboratories Interim Director Billie Swalla, OPALCO Energy Savings Specialist Elisa Howard and UW Dean of the College of the Environment and Prentice and Virginia Bloedel Professor Lisa J. Graumlich gather for the award presentation on the deck of the dining hall at the UW Friday Harbor Labs.

This retrofit was a component of a larger ESCO project to “green up” facilities. Swalla thanked the previous FHL Director Ken Sebens and previous FHL Associate Director Adam Summers for securing the grant from the Washington Department of Commerce. McKinstry was the company contracted to do much of the work. The lab upgraded to high performance linear bulbs and ballasts and replaced incandescent lighting with LEDs. This will result in an estimated energy savings of 101,333 kilowatt hours annually.

UW Professor Adam Summers described the process for getting the go-ahead on this project. “Always looking for greater efficiencies – and always challenged by budgetary restraints, we surveyed the potential savings across multiple buildings, calculated the estimated costs and found the relatively rapid return on investment made a good case.”

Dean Graumlich thanked OPALCO and the staff of the Friday Harbor Labs and then turned her attention to the students in attendance. “It’s exciting to see that our next generation of stewards – of the Friday Harbor Labs and of our planet – are placing a great value on energy efficiency, conservation and renewable generation. You are creating new social norms that will serve us well.”

The Friday Harbor Labs also installed solar panels this spring on a laboratory building close to the water (you can see them from Friday Harbor). The 3 kilowatt system is interconnected to OPALCO’s electric grid and will offset energy costs for an estimated annual savings of 3,011 kWh kilowatt hours.

OPALCO’s rebate program is funded by Bonneville Power Administration to help incentivize energy efficiency upgrades in San Juan County. The OPALCO Energy Savings staff has issued a total of $268,478 in rebate checks to members with a collective estimated annual kWh savings of 940,826 (period of 10/1/13 – 5/31/14).